I understand that electric motors can run a car with much less HP than a gasoline engine...why is it that an electric motor needs less horsepower? Is it because they provide max horsepower at all rpm?
Hi, Zach! Short answer? Torque. That, and driveline efficiency. Check out this T-zero edging past this 500 hp. Dodge Viper using about half the horsepower. The Viper will catch up, given enough time, but a well-engineered electric car with a series wound DC motor is very quick off the line. All the motor's torque is available from a standstill; it's simply a characteristic of these motors. You could see in the video that the driver of the T-zero had his hands full trying to keep the motor from outrunning the car; ) With an electric car's motor, the question of power is less "how many horsepower can the motor deliver", and more "how many amps can I draw from the batteries at once". And that depends on other components besides the motor.